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Michigan Hockey Preview: High-Powered Wisconsin is coming to town

Michigan will play host to No. 3 ranked Wisconsin at Yost this weekend.

COLLEGE HOCKEY: JAN 29 Michigan at Wisconsin Photo by Lawrence Iles/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Following a series split against in-state rival Michigan State last weekend, the Michigan men’s ice hockey team will be back in action this weekend in Ann Arbor. The Wolverines will play host to one of the nation’s best team, as No. 3 ranked Wisconsin comes to town for two games at Yost.

These two teams are familiar with one another, as they met up in Madison for a two game series in early November. If you recall, that series didn’t turn out well for the Wolverines — they lost both games, 5-4 and 2-1, respectively.

Fortunately, the Wolverines weren’t overmatched in either game, showing they’re more than capable of hanging with one of the nation’s best team. Michigan enters the series with a 3-1 record since the month-long layoff. The Wolverines blasted Stonehill in two games in Ann Arbor before splitting with a solid Michigan State team last weekend.

However, Wisconsin enters this series on a hot streak of its own. The Badgers are 10-0-1 in their last 11 games, with their most recent being a 3-3 tie against Lindenwood last weekend. They have an overall record of 19-4-1.

The name of the game for the Badgers is defense, as they are currently allowing the fewest goals per game in the nation (1.62). A big reason for Wisconsin’s success, especially recently, has been the play of its goaltender Kyle McClellan, who recently recorded his sixth-shutout of the season against Lindenwood last weekend.

Michigan has not been so strong on the defensive end, ranking No. 32 nationally by surrendering 3.00 goals per game. The Wolverines allowed seven goals against, including six unanswered in the series finale against Michigan State last weekend.

Fortunately for Michigan, it does have plenty of firepower offensively, ranking No. 2 nationally in scoring offense at 4.68 goals per game. Michigan has gotten plenty of production this year from the likes of Rutger McGroarty and T.J. Hughes. The Wolverines will need some big performances from that duo in order to put the puck in the net against Wisconsin’s stout defense.

On offense for Wisconsin, freshman Quinn Finley has been hot as of late, and even registered a hat trick on Jan. 12 against Lindenwood. Additionally, senior Mathieu De St. Phalle, who scored a game-winning goal against the Wolverines back in November, is up to seven goals and 13 assists on the year, including three assists last weekend.

Can the Wolverines avenger their defeats from earlier in the season? We’ll have to tune in and see if they can stand tall to the task.

Game 1

When: Friday, Jan. 26, 7 p.m. ET

Where: Yost Ice Arena, Ann Arbor, MI

How to watch: Big Ten +

How to listen: 1270 WXYT

Game 2

When: Saturday, Jan. 27, 7 p.m. ET

Where: Yost Ice Arena, Ann Arbor, MI

How to watch: Big Ten +

How to listen: 1270 WXYT